Until they were fired last March, Raymond Roberson and Lamar Love were maintenance workers for Rittenhouse Hill, a Germantown apartment complex owned and operated by Michael and Matthew Pestronk, aka the Post Brothers, the developers who have made news thanks to their ongoing disputes with Philadelphia’s unions. And now Roberson and Love, both of whom are African American, are taking their former employers to court. Read more »
Tonight there’s a rooftop party at the Goldtex apartments at 12th and Pearl streets in Callowhill. Like other Post Brothers jawns, it has a quirky title: “Do Not Rent Here” — a provocative first sentence the buildings trades would likely agree with — followed up by “You’ll Never Want to Leave.”
The event is meant to showcase “Goldtex’s state-of-the-art amenities and its class-leading green living experience.” Attendees can tour one- and three-bedroom apartments, or just enjoy free food and drink served up by Cafe Lift/Buffad Pizza, and listen to DJ DSC of Hair O’ The Dog fame.
Mike Pestronk, one of the two owners of Post Brothers Apartments, which developed Goldtex, said they’d been asking L&I for an event permit for more than a month, and were still waiting for it to come through as of early this morning. Matt Pestronk said, “If they don’t give it to us, it’s because they’re corrupt.”
Fortunately for the success of the event, the permit did come through around 11 a.m.
This week IBEW released a documentary about the Post Brothers made by 9.14 Pictures. The press conference to debut the film had some entertaining costumes and speeches by many of the talking heads in the film, including City Councilmen Jim Kenney and Mark Squilla; John Dougherty; Pat Gillespie; and others. Laura Kicey took some photos, below.
Two press releases came across the transom just now.
Headline No. 1: “Philadelphia Building Trades To Premiere Video Documentary Exposing Major Health and Safety Violations at Post Brothers’ Goldtex Apartments.”
Headline No. 2: “Johnny Doc-umentary”
Both refer to a film being shown Wednesday, Oct. 2, at IBEW Local 98 Union Hall at 10:15 a.m. The film’s formal title is Deconstructing Post Brothers: Exposing the Truth Behind the Cheap Facade, and the screening will be followed by a press conference with…
local elected officials and labor leaders, including Congressman Bob Brady, State Representative Bill Keller, City Councilmen Jim Kenney and Mark Squilla, Building Trades Business Manager Pat Gillespie and IBEW Local 98 Business Manager John J. Dougherty, among others.
Below, the film itself and the press release from the Post Bros. in response to the film’s release.
Pardon the informality of the headline, but this simply cannot be believed. Philadelinquency spotted a post on Philadelphia Speaks in which forum member fiveomar described an interaction at 20th and Chestnut with a “union goon” (now, that’s not nice) who was handing out anti-Post Brothers fliers. According to fiveomar, the fliers included “some pretty ridiculous claims about the Post Brothers storing and smuggling heroine [sic] and cocaine.”
We have tried to maintain some degree of objectivity here, but if the building trades are now painting Matthew Pestronk as Pablo Escobar, that has to be the last straw. What’s next? Mike Pestronk is actually Walter White?
Wendy Salzman at 6 ABC filed a report yesterday on the newly renovated and rebuilt Goldtex apartment building at 12th and Wood. Developed by the Post Brothers, the building was the site of a fierce battle between the building trade unions and the company, which chose to use both union and non-union labor for the construction and renovation. Though the building is still partially under construction, tenants have moved in and Licenses & Inspections has approved temporary occupancy of the eighth floor.
Action News sent a reporter in with a hidden camera to see what the units with lofts are like. The lofts have pull-down stairways that, when extended, block the door to the apartment. According to L&I, the lofts are approved as utility spaces, not living spaces, but a Goldtex sales rep tells the undercover reporter that the loft can be used as a bedroom with a twin or double bed. This, says Post Bros. co-owner Mike Pestronk, is an error on the rep’s part, as is a listings photo that portrays the loft as a living space. The photo below is from a Craigslist ad shows a loft space as rather inhabited.
A few days ago, Matthew Pestronk, one of the two principals of the development company Post Brothers, called to tell us that almost every day there are men with videocameras outside of Rittenhouse Hill, one of the Post Brothers’ many developments. He claimed the men are members of IBEW Local 98, the electricians’ union. “They’re taping female residents coming in and out of our properties and making them very uncomfortable,” he said. “What does that have to do with anything?”
The Post Bros.–the development company most well known for its clash with the building trades unions at the Goldtex building at 12th and Wood–had to change the date of their Backyard Bash to promote new features at Rittenhouse Hill apartments. The fun happens this week instead, as advertised on this poster which, for them, is practically virginal.
A blog entry from the Llenrock Group, a local real estate advisory/investment banking firm, dubs the Post Bros. company “Schlemiel of the Week.” For those who aren’t up on their Yiddish, here’s the definition from the Yiddish Slang Dictionary:
a clumsy, inept person
This is similar to the word “klutz”, but rather than coming from German, comes from the Hebrew word שלא מועיל (shlemil) meaning “ineffective”.
Developer Matthew Pestronk, one-half of the Post Bros.–the company converting an old factory at 12th and Wood into the Goldtex Apartments–says he and his brother Mike did everything L&I told them to do before they held their VIP preview party last night at the building (for more on the party’s promotion, go here). It wasn’t a unique situation: Real estate developers often have previews of properties that aren’t entirely finished–hence the word “preview.” “There’s a body of compliance to get a temporary event permit,” said Matt today. “We spoke to L&I earlier in the week, and they assured us we got the permit. We did exactly what we were told to do.”
But when an L&I inspector came to the site at 4 p.m. yesterday, he told Matt, “L&I will not allow me to issue the permit.” The official reason Matt was given for the denial was the lack of a working fire protection system, but he said they’d addressed that. If a building does not yet have a sprinkler system, the people holding the event must have appropriate personnel on site to deal with fire emergencies. Matt says they did–”we take safety very seriously.”